A Senate committee has approved legislation described by supporters as the next step in studying largely unregulated chemicals found in North Carolina rivers.
The chamber's environmental panel voted Wednesday evening for the measure focusing on emerging contaminants. These chemicals have gotten attention after the disclosure of GenX in the Cape Fear River, the chief water source for Wilmington. The bill directs the state Department of Environmental Quality to examine its water pollution permitting program and report findings to legislators. It also sets up a process with high-tech equipment on University of North Carolina system campuses to test for contaminants could help regulators if needed.
There's $2.4 million for DEQ to carry out the law. But Democrats on the committee complained there wasn't money designed to help the department address a backlog in permitting and testing. The measure next goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
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